My assault on the megalith of 80s sci-fi movies has begun, with "Hangar 18" (1980).

Now a somewhat obscure film, it was one of the earliest film incarnations of what I like to call the "Area 51 Myth" that I can recall.

The movie modernizes the story and changes up the locations, but it has a lot of the elements of the shared myth about a captured alien spacecraft with dead aliens found aboard it.

I've been told that this movie is also notable as one of the first US movies to be generally released in the Soviet Union.

There is a cover-up plotline, which of course, is a feature of most conspiracy theory stories. Frankly, I find that part a little silly. But it comes with the territory, I guess.

And there's a modicum of "ancient aliens" myth mixed in.

But I think the coolest thing is the art design for the alien spacecraft. That's a REALLY nice set! They put a lot of work into it.

Of course, this movie was inspired by the stories and conspiracy theories around the "Roswell Incident", as Wikipedia styles it:

The official story of the 1947 incident, which I'm inclined to think is at least close to the truth, is that they found a weather balloon that came down, as happens with balloons from time to time, but it got reported in a way that made it sound like a "flying saucer", and the story took on a life of its own.


The movie mixes in the "ancient aliens" myth, woven from aspects of the "Nibiru" myth and bits of Von Daniken's "Chariots of the Gods".

This was fairly new in 1980, and not quite as much of a cliche as it has since become, since a LOT of movies have capitalized on these sources.

(Sitchen's "The 12th Planet" was published in 1976, Von Daniken's "Chariots.." in 1968, with a film based on it in 1970).

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I'm not going to go into an elaborate debunk here, but just as disclaimer, I will say that the scientific consensus is that that these are 100% pseudoscientific garbage.

But they have had a lot of cultural and literary influence, to be sure!

I hadn't seen this movie in decades, but it actually held up pretty well, overall. Kind of a "B movie", but well-made.

The best thing is the alien set and the art design, including the alien script, that is significant to the story. The ship's interior otherwise looks a bit like it was designed by the same people responsible for 80s stereo equipment -- lots of black, with lots of buttons and lights.

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